Tag Archives: LIU Post

Chasing Ice – The Most Captivating Documentary I’ve Ever Seen

By: Kristen Linsalata, News Editor, The Pioneer
“Chasing Ice” directed by Jeff Orlowski is the most captivating documentary about the planet’s rapidly melting glaciers that I have ever seen. The reoccurring images of the receding glaciers from all over the world caused me to think: If glaciers are representative of climate change, then how long will it be before it is too late to save them? How long will it be until we can no longer reverse the damage that we have done to the world? The documentary resoundingly conveys that the answer is now. We have already done irrevocable damage. If we continue on abusing the world and nature in the way we do, then it will be too late for our children, our grandchildren, and our great grandchildren.

Chasing Ice

One of the most captivating scenes of the documentary was the live footage of the calving of a glacier in Greenland – the longest calving event to ever be caught on film. As I watched the glacier dying slowly at first, then rapidly, I realized the same is true for the rest of our Earth. Because of our abuse, the Earth has been dying a slow death, but now over the last ten years, the effects of climate change and greenhouse gases have been astronomically more evident than it ever has in history.

The part that I enjoyed most was how the documentary addressed the naysayers of global warming. There are certain individuals who claim that climate change is a “myth” and the documentary even showed someone saying that climate change is one of the biggest hoaxes on the American people ever. One of their main arguments against the presence of climate change, according to the documentary, is that some glaciers grow, which wouldn’t be a response to a global warming signal. However, the documentary presented a study where glaciers were studied in the Yukon Territory in Canada from 1958 to 2008, and out of the 1,400 glaciers that were there in 1958, only four grew, over 400 disappeared, and almost all of the remaining glaciers got smaller. These facts are sobering but undeniable when considering the presence of global warming and its effects on our planet.

In “Chasing Ice,” James Balog and his team’s dedication to bringing awareness to this issue is evident. When Balog cried, you wanted to cry with him. This cause obviously means so much to him. But why doesn’t it mean more to our peers? We must remind ourselves that as our planet dies, we die along with it. Balog says in the documentary that we are connected to nature in more ways than we can even conceive and I unequivocally agree. Thank you to LIU Post Sustainability for showing this film and bringing awareness to this very important issue.

Check out the trailer to Chasing Ice below:

To request a future screening of Chasing Ice at LIU Post, please email William.Achnitz@liu.edu.

Chasing Ice – The Most Captivating Documentary I've Ever Seen

By: Kristen Linsalata, News Editor, The Pioneer
“Chasing Ice” directed by Jeff Orlowski is the most captivating documentary about the planet’s rapidly melting glaciers that I have ever seen. The reoccurring images of the receding glaciers from all over the world caused me to think: If glaciers are representative of climate change, then how long will it be before it is too late to save them? How long will it be until we can no longer reverse the damage that we have done to the world? The documentary resoundingly conveys that the answer is now. We have already done irrevocable damage. If we continue on abusing the world and nature in the way we do, then it will be too late for our children, our grandchildren, and our great grandchildren.

Chasing Ice

One of the most captivating scenes of the documentary was the live footage of the calving of a glacier in Greenland – the longest calving event to ever be caught on film. As I watched the glacier dying slowly at first, then rapidly, I realized the same is true for the rest of our Earth. Because of our abuse, the Earth has been dying a slow death, but now over the last ten years, the effects of climate change and greenhouse gases have been astronomically more evident than it ever has in history.

The part that I enjoyed most was how the documentary addressed the naysayers of global warming. There are certain individuals who claim that climate change is a “myth” and the documentary even showed someone saying that climate change is one of the biggest hoaxes on the American people ever. One of their main arguments against the presence of climate change, according to the documentary, is that some glaciers grow, which wouldn’t be a response to a global warming signal. However, the documentary presented a study where glaciers were studied in the Yukon Territory in Canada from 1958 to 2008, and out of the 1,400 glaciers that were there in 1958, only four grew, over 400 disappeared, and almost all of the remaining glaciers got smaller. These facts are sobering but undeniable when considering the presence of global warming and its effects on our planet.

In “Chasing Ice,” James Balog and his team’s dedication to bringing awareness to this issue is evident. When Balog cried, you wanted to cry with him. This cause obviously means so much to him. But why doesn’t it mean more to our peers? We must remind ourselves that as our planet dies, we die along with it. Balog says in the documentary that we are connected to nature in more ways than we can even conceive and I unequivocally agree. Thank you to LIU Post Sustainability for showing this film and bringing awareness to this very important issue.

Check out the trailer to Chasing Ice below:

To request a future screening of Chasing Ice at LIU Post, please email William.Achnitz@liu.edu.

Solar & Offshore Wind: Can Renewable Energy Work For Long Island?

By: Bessie Weisman, Sustainability Coordinator, LIU Post

solar and wind

On Monday, April 13th, LIU Post welcomed three renewable energy professionals to present about themselves and their field of work. Following the presentations was a Q&A panel discussion where students and community members got a chance to pick the brains of these renewable energy experts.

The first presentation was given by Stephanie McClellan, the Director of the Special Initiative on Offshore Wind (SIOW) at the University of Delaware. Her location of focus is Delaware, but she easily tied in her knowledge of wind power to the region as a whole. McClellen touted offshore wind as having the greatest renewable and carbon-reducing energy source for the entire East Coast. She used Europe as an example of a region in which offshore wind is being successfully utilized and she is hoping to capitalize on the methods of such accomplishments through her position with SIOW.

offshore-wind-turbines

The second presenter was Clinton L. Plummer, Vice President of Development for Deepwater Wind. Plummer eloquently spoke of the projects that Deepwater Wind has been developing, and, most notably, he discussed the company’s wind farm to be located on Block Island. The Block Island Wind Farm will be 30-megawatts, situated approximately three miles southeast of Block Island, and it will have 5 wind turbines in total. Below is a visual of where the project will be located. The power source, as Plummer highlighted, will generate enough energy to provide for 17,000 homes. This project, he thinks, will be especially useful in sparking the public’s interest and trust in the potential of offshore wind. Considering the turbines will be far enough away not to block anyone’s view to the beach, but close enough that people could take a quick boat ride to see them, the project will stand as a solid means to establish offshore wind as a valued form of power to the public.

Deepwater ONE map

Finally, Carlo Lanza finished off the series of presentations with his discussion of solar power. Lanza wears many hats, between being the founding member and leader of Harvest Power LLC, to his role as chairman for the Long Island Solar Energy Industries Association (LISEIA) and his efforts in working with PSEG Long Island and policymakers, he is deeply involved in all aspects of his field. Lanza said that he was initially inspired to delve into the discipline of solar energy after he heard the astounding fact that, in one hour, the sun bathes the Earth in more energy than what is used worldwide in a typical year. After hearing this, Lanza became an engineer and later took on a myriad of roles in acting toward promoting solar energy installations and use.

Overall, these renewables professionals gave hope to the students enrolled in the Environmental Sustainability programs at LIU Post, like myself, in the sense that we were reassured of the many diverse employment opportunities in our anticipated field. The panel members also expressed the importance of understanding the relatively novel nature of sustainability and renewable energy. In their experience, they all came from multidimensional educational backgrounds and work hard at the many roles they play to make strides in offshore wind and solar energy. Fundamentally, what unified all of these multifaceted individuals was their enduring passion for their chosen fields that has fostered the success that they each see today.

Solar & Offshore Wind: Can Renewable Energy Work For Long Island?

By: Bessie Weisman, Sustainability Coordinator, LIU Post

solar and wind

On Monday, April 13th, LIU Post welcomed three renewable energy professionals to present about themselves and their field of work. Following the presentations was a Q&A panel discussion where students and community members got a chance to pick the brains of these renewable energy experts.

The first presentation was given by Stephanie McClellan, the Director of the Special Initiative on Offshore Wind (SIOW) at the University of Delaware. Her location of focus is Delaware, but she easily tied in her knowledge of wind power to the region as a whole. McClellen touted offshore wind as having the greatest renewable and carbon-reducing energy source for the entire East Coast. She used Europe as an example of a region in which offshore wind is being successfully utilized and she is hoping to capitalize on the methods of such accomplishments through her position with SIOW.

offshore-wind-turbines

The second presenter was Clinton L. Plummer, Vice President of Development for Deepwater Wind. Plummer eloquently spoke of the projects that Deepwater Wind has been developing, and, most notably, he discussed the company’s wind farm to be located on Block Island. The Block Island Wind Farm will be 30-megawatts, situated approximately three miles southeast of Block Island, and it will have 5 wind turbines in total. Below is a visual of where the project will be located. The power source, as Plummer highlighted, will generate enough energy to provide for 17,000 homes. This project, he thinks, will be especially useful in sparking the public’s interest and trust in the potential of offshore wind. Considering the turbines will be far enough away not to block anyone’s view to the beach, but close enough that people could take a quick boat ride to see them, the project will stand as a solid means to establish offshore wind as a valued form of power to the public.

Deepwater ONE map

Finally, Carlo Lanza finished off the series of presentations with his discussion of solar power. Lanza wears many hats, between being the founding member and leader of Harvest Power LLC, to his role as chairman for the Long Island Solar Energy Industries Association (LISEIA) and his efforts in working with PSEG Long Island and policymakers, he is deeply involved in all aspects of his field. Lanza said that he was initially inspired to delve into the discipline of solar energy after he heard the astounding fact that, in one hour, the sun bathes the Earth in more energy than what is used worldwide in a typical year. After hearing this, Lanza became an engineer and later took on a myriad of roles in acting toward promoting solar energy installations and use.

Overall, these renewables professionals gave hope to the students enrolled in the Environmental Sustainability programs at LIU Post, like myself, in the sense that we were reassured of the many diverse employment opportunities in our anticipated field. The panel members also expressed the importance of understanding the relatively novel nature of sustainability and renewable energy. In their experience, they all came from multidimensional educational backgrounds and work hard at the many roles they play to make strides in offshore wind and solar energy. Fundamentally, what unified all of these multifaceted individuals was their enduring passion for their chosen fields that has fostered the success that they each see today.

LIU Partners With 511NY For Rideshare Program

CAMPUS PRESS RELEASE

earthdayIn celebration of Earth Day, April 22, LIU announced a new partnership with New York State’s 511NY Rideshare network, a telephone, online, and mobile app resource that helps commuters and employers find easy and affordable alternatives to driving alone while also reducing environmental impact.

With 511NY Rideshare, LIU employees will be able to find free and convenient car-share, transit, and van-pool information. The service is open to all employees and can be accessed via MyLIU. The portal is secure and will offer users the option of searching for ridematches with other LIU employees at your campus.

In addition to ridematching, 511NY Rideshare also offers information on alternative transportation options that will save time and money, as well as access to New York State’s 511NY network for real-time travel, transit and traffic updates. Visit my.liu.edu and click “LIU Rideshare” to get started on going green today.

Posted 04/13/2015

Focus On The Good, Not The Bad

By: Melissa Colleary, Senior Sustainability Coordinator, LIU Post

“A hundred years ago, all food was organic, local, seasonal, and fresh or naturally preserved by ancient methods. All food was food. Now, less than 3 percent of agricultural land in the United States is used to grow fruits and vegetables, which should make up 80 percent of our diets.”

James Colquhoun, Hungry for Change: Ditch the Diets, Conquer the Cravings, and Eat Your Way to Lifelong Health

Last Thursday night, the Sustainable Post Committee, in partnership with the LIU Post Nutrition Club, hosted a screening of the documentary Hungry for Change. The documentary focuses on the health and diet industry and how these companies intentionally manufacture food to create addictive qualities that will cause the consumer to come back for more. This combination of sugar, fat, and salt has in turn created more health problems than we ever thought imaginable, including everything from obesity to diabetes and heart disease.

hungry-for-change-2

The documentary strives to portray these issues in a way that will show the viewer just how manipulative the food industry truly is. It points out how our human instincts tell us to consume food whenever it is available to store up for the winter, but as Dr. Christiane Northrup says:

“Now there is a lot of food available, but it’s the wrong kind. So we’ve been programmed for millennia to store up for the winter, but the winter doesn’t come.”

Humans are perpetually consuming more and more food from calorically empty sources, which creates a condition of starvation while simultaneously being overfed.

Although a lot of these points are helpful and informative, others, in my opinion, are a bit extreme. For example, the documentary explicitly endorses juicing, the process of extracting juice from fresh fruits and vegetables, as a way to detoxify the body. However, the human body naturally detoxifies and juicing is not always helpful. The process of extracting juice from fruits and vegetables actually depletes a lot of the nutrients by stripping the produce of the fiber they contain.

The film does spend a significant amount of time discussing the importance of local foods and organics. Although introducing any produce is beneficial to one’s diet, using organic and local sources are good for your body in addition to the environment. Organics also do not use the harmful pesticides that are often present in conventionally grown produce, which can actually seep into the produce through the skin.

Locally grown food also helps to reduce your environmental impact because there is less transportation needed. When you buy an avocado that was grown in Mexico, the amount of travel that it takes to get that avocado to your grocery store is astronomical. Just because you’re buying an organic piece of produce, doesn’t mean that it is entirely environmentally friendly, especially if it had to travel thousands of miles to make it to your plate.

Cooking

The Nutrition Club Prepping The Sustainable Meal

Whenever possible, visit local farmer’s markets. They’re often much cheaper than the grocery store and you can meet the people who actually grow your food, rather than the people who are stacking it in geometrical patterns under fluorescent lights in a grocery store.

The problem with the way we eat now, in regards to the environment, is that new farming practices and production methods cause more pollution than almost any other source. For example, according to DoSomething.org, factory farming accounts for 37% of methane (CH4) emissions. Methane has more than 20 times the global warming potential of CO2 and burning fossil fuels to produce fertilizers for feed crops may emit 41 million metric tons of CO2 per year. An additional 90 million metric tons of CO2 per year may be emitted by fossil fuels expended for intensive confinement operations. However, organic farming and local sources produce far less.

The other troubling issue is that less farmers are growing our food in favor of scientists creating it in a lab. As Kris Carr said in the film:

“If it takes a lab to create then it takes a lab to digest”.

The fact that people allow the food industry to get away with this is extremely troubling, especially when you consider the effects on your body and the environment.

Perhaps the most important thing the film says is to not worry so much about eliminating all of the bad things in your diet, but to focus on adding the good things in. I think that this is applicable to pretty much any aspect of your life. If you live on a diet of Poptarts and candy, adding vegetables and lean meats into your diet will improve your health and potentially even push the processed foods out. If you buy your food primarily frozen or in cans, start buying fresh. If you buy fresh food from a grocery store, try a farmer’s market.

Nutrition-Club

Nutrition Club Members Serving The Meal

This doesn’t even need to pertain entirely to food, rather, it can impact all aspects of your life. So, whether you never exercise and you decide to start taking the stairs, or if you don’t recycle but you start using reusable bags, you’re making a positive change that will start a chain reaction in your life.

Don’t focus on the bad, focus on the good.

hungry for change image 1

Hungry For Change

Join Sustainable Post and the LIU Post Nutrition Club for a screening of the documentary Hungry For Change. Admission is free and sustainable refreshments will be served. The Nutrition Club is cooking up a sustainable meal for all to enjoy.

Hungry For Change

Terra Blight: Do You Know Where Your Old Electronics Go?

By: Melissa Colleary, Senior Sustainability Coordinator, LIU Post

We all use electronics. We text, use laptops, social media, play games, and work on our electronic devices. Even kids have them now, and they oftentimes know how to use them better than adults. In a country where we are so dependent on these devices, a lot of attention has been paid to developing new technology to replace what quickly becomes obsolete. A new iPhone will come out and people will flock to stores to get their hands on one the day it comes out, sometimes even resorting to violence while waiting in line.

With so much attention being paid to “keeping up with the Joneses,” it’s easy to forget that our old devices have to go somewhere when we’re done with them. The documentary Terra Blight addresses just that: where our devices go when we are no longer using them. The film transitions between the United States, a country known for its consumer culture, and Ghana, a third world country in Africa. The scenes in the United States show how Americans feel about electronics, particularly highlighting the gaming industry by showing people who participate in LAN parties and who spend thousands of dollars updating their technology. When asked about where the old devices go, none of the people interviewed seemed to know or even care for that matter.

Terra Blight

The film then transitioned to Ghana, where a lot of the e-waste from the United States goes to die. The country is extremely impoverished and underdeveloped, and land that used to be grasslands and marshes have been turned into dumping grounds for electronics. These dumping grounds are a source of both profit and pain for the people of Ghana. Young children are shown picking through broken computers in search of metals to sell for money to go to school, and shop keepers sell obsolete computer hardware to people who aren’t even sure what a computer does. The health impacts are made extremely apparent throughout these scenes. There are several references to the horrendous smell, and children are shown with cuts on their hands and feet.

Perhaps the most shocking part of the film was the fact that some of the e-waste that is dumped in Ghana is from the United States government and even from the United States EPA. In a country that claims to be the best in the world, it seems hypocritical to claim a type of responsibility that clearly is not there. It seems as though the US government has taken a policy of “out of sight, out of mind” with no mind for the consequences. The US has labor laws protecting its children, meanwhile, they are shipping their e-waste off to a country where children are so poor that they are forced to pick through harmful materials in hopes of earning enough money to get an education.

Terra Blight Scene

A scene from the movie Terra Blight

A conference hosted by the EPA was also depicted in the film; however, the journalist was not allowed to enter the meeting as he was with a “private” film crew. The woman at the door to the event was not only dismissive, but she was confrontational in telling him how much she would enjoy getting security to make him leave. At this scene in the film, it made me wonder what exactly they were hiding. Later, on a trip to the dump site, people from the conference were taking pictures of the rubbish and of the children. To me, it was disgusting to watch people taking pictures with children holding garbage, almost as though it was a tourist attraction rather than an environmental crisis.

Terra Blight is such an important film because it provides so much information about a very real problem in the world. While people are concerned about the speed of their internet or the size of their iPhone, children are picking through the remains of what we no longer use in Africa. The good news, however, is that there is a lot that we can do to stop this from continuing. Probably the easiest way is to just recycle your electronics when you’re done with them, and make sure you recycle them through a reputable organization that does not dump them in third world countries. The Department of Facilities Services at LIU Post, for example, offers such a program to the campus community by utilizing Regional Computer Recycling & Recovery, a certified vendor that adheres to responsible disposal methods.

Truck

If you’re not a part of the campus community, you may check with your town government to see what kinds of programs they offer. Many, for example, offer a program called Stop Throwing Out Pollutants, whereby residents can drop off certain types of items including old electronics. Another really awesome option is to donate your old e-waste to a nonprofit organization. Rainforest Connection, for example, uses recycled cell phones to detect the sound of illegal loggers in the rainforest. With so many options, please keep the end in mind; responsibly recycle your old electronic devices.

Check out the trailer to Terra Blight:

Double Dose of Sustainability

Sustainable Post Spring 2015 Meetings-page-0 511NY Program

Do You Know Your Carbon Footprint?

By: Bessie Weisman, Sustainability Coordinator, LIU Post
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has a nifty tool on its website to calculate your household’s carbon footprint. A carbon footprint is simply a quantification of CO2 emissions from a person, product, or, in the case of this calculator, a home.

I was reluctant at first, because I didn’t want to face how high my household emissions may be, albeit very curious to use this tool. So, I went through the steps of the EPA’s calculator and discovered some useful information about my family’s stats and what we could do to cut our annual CO2 output.

Carbon Calculator 
To really get the most out of this exercise, you need some information that might not come off the top of your head. For example, I researched the average gas mileage of my car in addition to the amount of money spent on electricity and gas in my house per month. For all of these stats, the EPA also gives you figures for the average American household; this was nice because I felt like less of a heathen when comparing my house’s output to the average.

My favorite part about this exercise was looking at the ways that the EPA suggested lowering your emissions. Some of the actions they recommended were simpler and more doable than I expected. Regularly maintaining your car, using cold water to wash your clothes, and utilizing your computer’s power-saving features are easy ways to reduce emissions. Of course, recycling is also one of the most effective and achievable actions your household could (and definitely should) take as well.

Seeing these calculations with EPA’s tool made my household’s CO2 emissions a more tangible concept. I always understood the idea of a carbon footprint, but seeing the numbers and figures on my screen made them digestible. This exercise is something that will use in introductory classes in the future, and no doubt students will be able to benefit from its interactive and constructive nature.

Interested in calculating your household’s carbon footprint, click HERE.

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